Person behind Istiklal bombing arrested, as PKK denies involvement

Turkish Interior Minister Soylu has said that 22 people have been arrested for the blast, including who "left the bomb," that killed six people on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue. The PKK denied involvement.

Anadolu Agency - Reuters

The person who left the bomb that caused the explosion on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue has been arrested, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said early Nov. 14.

Soylu said the order for the attack on Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue was given in Kobani, a city in northern Syria, where Turkish forces have carried out operations against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in recent years. Ankara says the YPG, which Washington has supported in Syria, is a wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

"The person who carried out the incident, left the bomb, was detained. Previously, around 21 other people had been detained," Soylu added.

Soylu confirmed that six people were killed and 81 were injured in the attack.

Fifty of the injured were released from hospitals, while five are in intensive care units, he said.

Also, two of the injured are in critical condition, he added.

Turkey's General Directorate of Security (EGM) has claimed that the suspected bomber said in her interrogation that she was trained as a special intelligence officer by "the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization ."

On the other hand, in a statement on its website, the PKK denied involvement and said it would not attack civilians. SDF commander Mazloum Abdi denied involvement on Twitter.

Police named the suspected bomber as Ahlam Albashir, a Syrian national, who was detained in an overnight raid.

According to police, Albashir said during questioning that she was trained by Kurdish militants and entered Turkey through Afrin, another northern Syrian town.

A Turkish official said the possibility of Islamic State being responsible for the attack was "not entirely disregarded."

A blast hit Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue on Nov. 13. Television news reports showed images of a person, who appeared to be a woman, leaving a package below a raised flower bed in Istiklal Avenue, a popular spot for shoppers and tourist, with a tramline running the length of the street.

Istanbul has been targeted in the past by Kurdish, Islamist and leftist militants. An offshoot of the PKK claimed twin bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium in December 2016 that killed 38 people and wounded 155.